How many people do you know that could turn 1,300 feet of empty space and no prior experience as a retail store owner into a national award winning under one year?

In the midst of a flourishing career coordinating special events for clients including the NFL, NBA, and PGA, Cinda Baxter made the decision to take on a new role—retail store owner. Building on her 25+ years of graphic design experience, a long-time fascination with etiquette, and an appreciation for fine papers, she single-handedly launched a successful upscale stationery and gift boutique in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Capping fourteen years as a highly respected Professional Stationer and two-time winner of the national Retailer Excellence Award, Cinda officially completed the transition from store owner to consultant and retail coach in 2007 at the urging of industry leadership and respected mentors, with a single purpose in mind: to strengthen and support independent, brick and mortar businesses.

trusted expert
Valued as a knowledgable voice in the small business sector, Cinda is frequently sought out for her expertise and leadership. Featured and/or quoted in national media ranging from The Wall Street Journal to NBC Nightly News, she continues to “do the hard work” at ground level, via positions on various boards and panels throughout the gift, stationery, and home accessory industries.

vibrant speaker
Cinda can be found as the featured speaker at numerous national conferences and trade shows, ranging from Hong Kong to High Point. Whether addressing an audience of small business owners or a keynote address to industry leaders, her focus remains constant--creating success for all parties concerned.

game changer
In founding The 3/50 Project, Cinda turned a simple concept into a viral campaign that netted more than 7,600 “absolute unique visitors” on its website and several times that many supporters the first week. Built on the tag line “Pick 3, spend 50, save your local economy,” she inspired small business owners to rise above the challenges of flailing economics while empowering consumers to create positive change by driving revenue back toward locally owned, independent brick and mortars.

Hailed nationally as an unprecedented success for Buy Local awareness, Cinda and The 3/50 Project have been featured in both trade and mass media, including The Washington Post, Consumer Reports, Entrepreneur, NYTimes Online, and The Chicago Tribune. According to Fox Business News, The 3/50 Project “just might have the formula that could save some local businesses that might not otherwise survive.”

social networking pioneer
Singled out by Inc Magazine as an expert for using social media to engage an audience offline, Cinda teaches business owners how to harness the power of the internet, then use it to their advantage. From Facebook and blogs to Twitter and LinkedIn, she guides others in successfully navigating the shifting terrain of online social media.

In addition to The 3/50 Project, Cinda has launched three successful online communities to support storefront retailers in the gift, stationery, and home accessory industries: RetailSpeaks (independent gift and stationery retailers); Brilliant Ink (professional stationers dedicated to original design); and The Print Lab (a collaborative project with Epson America). That collective effort has cemented Cinda’s reputation as networking pioneer and champion of brick and mortar retailers.

professional writer
Between live appearances, Cinda is a contributing editor for Gifts and Decorative Accessories Magazine (following a record four year stint as writer in the “We Ask” column), participated in Greetings, Etc. magazine’s “Hot Topics” roundtable column, and has been featured or quoted in numerous regional and national magazines, including Modern Bride, Giftware News, Gift Shop News, Minnesota Monthly, and Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine. In addition to print, she was also a video trainer specializing in small business promotion and marketing on The Gift and Home Channel.

big city resident with farm kid roots
At the end of the day, Cinda holds fast to her rural Nebraska upbringing, continuing to embrace a Midwestern work ethic and “people first” values inspired by her siblings, parents, and grandparents. Having grown up in a three-generations-old family business, she recognizes the importance of planning for longevity, not simply shooting for short term solutions.

Oh--and she likes dark chocolate. A lot. The way most people "like" oxygen.

View Cinda Baxter's profile on LinkedIn

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